Law, Social Justice & Global Development

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Law, Social Justice & Global Development
(An Electronic Law Journal)

Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights

Robert Fine,

Chairperson of the Department of Sociology,

University of Warwick

This is a refereed article published on: 6 December 2007
Citation: Fine, R, ‘Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights’, 2007 (1) Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal (LGD).


The piece outlines the importance of the idea of cosmopolitanism and its relationship with human rights. Beginning with the proposition of human rights as a contradictory and relative social form the article seeks to articulate a kind of genealogy of cosmopolitanism and human rights that identifies four moments in which their contradictory character is played out: republicanism, imperialism, totalitarianism and our current moment; arguing that a cosmopolitan perspective can begin to confront the radical incompleteness of human rights politically – that is, without reducing the idea of right to the logic of power, conspiracy or mere contingency.

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